A new single and an appearance at Electric Picnic this weekend mean a busy time ahead for Dublin band Monster Monster. I nabbed singer Riona to talk about Bond, the Smiths and double-decker buses.
The Bond thing comes from the band’s new single “Assassin” which will be officially released September 25th. Listening to the track and watching the video I am struck by a Blondie “One Way Or Another” moment and Tina Turner’s “Goldeneye”, which all seems highly appropriate. “Oh my god we love Blondie and Bond. When we were recording, James (Lewis, of Rudimental and Sunset Sons), was like we need more Tina on this. We were listening to alot of Bond theme tunes at the time”, exclaims Riona when I mention it. The fact that I found two strong female influences on the track should not surprise either. Riona and bandmate Mick met on a night out after a heated debate about song writing. I ask her how the dynamic works between the two songwriters?
“We argue alot but it’s always about what’s best for the music. People think because he’s a man and I’m a woman and he’s older than me that we are like chalk and cheese but it’s not like that at all. We both bring the love versus hate theme throughout. It’s about getting the balance between epic love and a sense of doubt or danger. Like The Smiths song “There is a Light That Never Goes Out”. There is a sense of this epic love and that everything is going to be great then the double decker bus comes along. It’s the sweet with the sour”, explains Riona. (“And if a double-decker bus// Crashes into us// To die by your side// Is such a heavenly way to die”) “Mick is the primary songwriter, then I come along adapt the song and introduce the double-decker bus”, adds Riona.
The band’s debut EP (recorded with Lewis) will be out in October. So what can we expect? “I’m really into classic song writing like Paul Simon and The Beatles. So there will be stuff that you can just strum on a guitar and will still sound good! Then there’s FKA Twigs and Radiohead and that big ambient stadium sound will be on it too”, she says. The title is still up for debate but it’s between a couple of the band’s recent releases. Check out their Facebook page for clips of new songs.
Who are her influences or inspiration? “Classic songwriters like Carol King and The Beatles who I grew up listening to. I also like songwriters that work with story-telling and characters like FKA Twigs and Janelle Monae. What’s on their “to-do” list? “World domination! Then, Christmas in Liverpool”. The band’s song “Christmas in Liverpool” was picked up Mick’s favourite team and was played throughout the Christmas season at all of their matches last year. The album then will be next year. “We’re not in a big rush. It’s about quality control”, says Riona.”What’s the last thing you listened to? “Actually, I was just playing some Beatles on the piano. Otherwise, God Is An Astronaut.” There are also plenty of adorable pics of Riona’s puppy on Facebook. I think this should become a thing where bands to make their pet part of the brand. And goldfish count as pets!
You can find Monster Monster on all social media as well as their website monstermonstermusic.com
Catch the duo at Electric Picnic on the Oxjam Stage at 4pm then Cleer’s, Kilkenny October 9th and the EP launch in Whelan’s, Dublin October 23rd.